My skydiving journey started with a second tandem at Skydive New England, where right before my partner and I got geared up, we learned about the AFF course. On the day of finding out about AFF, it became a goal for my partner and I to be able to simply jump out of a plane together, fly together, hold hands, and be free. It seemed so impossible... but there we were. After landing gently on my butt for the last time as a tandem student, weeks later I found myself spending 8 hours learning the ins and outs, the ever-overwhelming ground course. At the end of that day, I was filled to the brim with information, and I was fortunate enough to be told that there was space for me to go for my first AFF jump. I'll never forget the feeling- it was something freeing being at the door of the plane, two instructors who I had met about 10 minutes prior to entering the plane, holding onto the handles of my ridiculous fitting rental suit, almost wishing I had prepared more, or wore diapers, or something. That first "up, down..." it was almost a count, and like that, I was flying my own body, trusting these strangers and myself with my life. It was scary, it was exhilarating, it was exciting, it was the best feeling I've ever experienced. That was the day I knew that no matter what, this was a goal that I would achieve.
Eventually, after many seemingly impossible weekends, some tunnel time after a few non-passing jumps, and being grounded, our season up north came to an end. With an addiction to the sky already deep within our veins, we planned a trip to Skydive City shortly thereafter, 12 jumps deep, where we had high hopes of becoming licensed within a week. Maybe a little ambitious, but day 1 we re-took our ground course, and towards the end of the day, we were back in the sky becoming current again. The nerves that I thought I had overcome came back, as I absolutely threw up all over myself once I pitched my student canopy at around 5,000 feet. That's the only time I've gotten motion sick from the sky, thankfully!
We spent every single day for the rest of that week, meeting staff, learning to pack, and jumping until my entire upper body was essentially one big bruise. I think one day, my partner and I each got 6 student jumps. Eventually, the end of the week was nearing, and we left ourselves needing two more jumps- our check dive, and our 3.5k hop and pop. My 3.5k, I turned into a long spot due to my door fear and the low altitude, and the check dive was the most stress-free skydive of my student life. We did it.
Then the time came on January 21st, 2021- we landed our parachutes, brought them to the packers, and Noah stamped our foreheads. For the goofy look a stamp on your head gives you, I'd say it was probably my favorite look at the time. My partner and I, sheerly excited about our new stamps and our A license, got on a load immediately, we held hands at the door and out of the plane, and through hard work, dedication, and pushing fear to the wayside, we had a very successful jump 26, holding hands in the sky just like we had dreamed. 200 jumps later, we still love every second of it and are thankful for everyone and everything who made this insane goal of ours possible.